Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Marxist Movie Reviews 03: Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol (2011)

Welcome to Marxist Movie Reviews, a new series of film reviews that attempts to look at modern and classic films from the perspective of what they say about society and social conflict. This point of view has historically been left largely to the academic world. However, this kind of analysis can provide everyone with insights into motion pictures and the messages they deliver to those who watch them.

The Basic Plot: Tom Cruise revives his role as Ethan Hunt, not an espionage agent but a soldier fighting an eternal secret war against unseen psychopaths who are trying to destroy everything while us normal people go about our business, oblivious to the shooting, hand-to-hand combat, and explosions.

The Best Part(s): the action sequences, the stunts

There's a lot to like in this movie, especially the four leads who band together for one more typically impossible mission when the entire IMF Agency is scrapped following the destruction of the Kremlin. The scenery is pretty amazing too, especially on top of the world's tallest building. Ultimately, though, the movie sags under its own weight of exposition and incredulity. In a world with 24/7 Internet and cable news, this movie feels oddly retro, which can be a plus and a minus.

It's interesting how one of the features of the original 1960s television series was in how the agents never used guns to achieve their objectives. They relied on research, deception, and their wits to accomplish their missions. That's certainly not the case anymore. In this world, the super-elite have access to all the firepower they need. They are also smarter, fitter, better looking, and more accomplished than you'll ever be. In a way, this film series is a kind of action-adventure for the "1% of the 1%" - only the actions of a few have consequence, the rest of us are background props or cannon fodder (The Star Wars Theory of Societal Conflict).

Tom Cruise has a new chapter in the Ethan Hunt series coming out this summer, which promises more of the same visceral thrills loosely held together with the exposition of shadow armies in eternal conflict over control of The World. Not being a huge Tom Cruise fan myself, I don't think I'll be able to watch any more of his films without thinking of the HBO documentary Going Clear and its descriptions what that actor's world. His might be the biggest gilded cage ever constructed.

My Rating: 5/10 ("Liked It")


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